The barefoot running debate has brought many issues and arguements to life.  The most disturbing of which has been the anger and attacks from opposing viewpoints, which I don't believe are mutually exclusive.  As I most wholeheartedly believe that the human foot was designed to function normally without any intervention, humans are adaptable. If anything, this debate has given us two important advances: 1. running shoe technology has no to little peer-reviewed research behind it, and any shoe company claiming one thing or another should be questioned.  2. As has always been the case, people are different and capable of adapting to new circumstances, as seen in the evolution of different human groups making regional adaptations due to  temperature, food, tools, etc. 
    As humans, we have this uncanny ability to adapt to different environments and situations.  Most plants and animals cannot be compared; they have evolved very specific requirements of food, habitat, form and function, to which a very small imbalance in an ecosystem can destroy the parts and the whole. 
    Humans are more like  starlings, crows, racoons, rats, etc--opportunists that can adapt to a wide range of food and environment.  There will be no one shoe, orthotic, or other gimmick that can fix problems, and even in a less-than-ideal situation, people have the ability to adapt to their circumstance.  Amputees can function without a leg, albeit having a tougher life as a result.  The person without arms can learn to write with their feet.  The blind person can use thier sense of hearing to adapt.  
    On the other hand, we can adapt back to the way our foot was made to function--a re-evolution of sorts--but it is not easy. Regaining the natural form and function of the foot is what I aim to do with my patients who are open to this, but those not all are.  There are a range of solutions that may work for a given person based on different variables.  
    Consider what I believe to be the most untalked-about element in Chris McDougall's 'Born to Run' book.  The Tarahumara indians showed us how we can run naturally, with good form.  We should all copy them, says McDougall (which I do agree with).  But why no one talks about their diet is beyond me.  They live on cornmeal and beer.  Carbs and carbs.  They don't seem to have any ill-related health effects because of this, yet McDougall wasn't pushing this diet in his book.
    Just like any group of people who has adapted to a particular way of life, the Tarahumara have adapted to a lifestyle of daily long runs and eating corn and drinking beer.  Humans are adaptable, in this day and age we can choose to change our lifestyle to fit a certain form and function.  
    With so many claims from companies looking to make money off ideas, we can get fooled into taking quick-fixes.  There may be a particular answer for each one of us, but there is almost never a quick-fix.  But if we want to change our diet, lifestyle, running form, or footwear for what we believe is the better, it is possible.  If you want to regain the natural function of your foot without relying on shoes and orthotics, you can. Like anything worth something in life, it takes hard work and time. 

12/30/2011 02:22:04 pm

good post

3/24/2012 08:23:52 am

Great info, thanks

4/24/2012 01:32:36 am

Thank you for details


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